API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a code that allows computers to interact with each other. In practice, companies use APIs as a basis for their own software, or they incorporate it directly into websites and tools.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a world without APIs. These simple codes save businesses a lot of time by allowing the use of premade software. You can benefit from them even if you’re a small brand and don’t have a team of dedicated developers.
How do brands perceive APIs?
Most companies don’t have the time or money to create programs from scratch. This is especially true for small nifty software, which can be incredibly important to your business, but is a nuisance to build.
For example, APIs allow you to integrate maps into your site and track financial data, sports news, or weather. These trackers are incredibly important for visitors, but if you didn’t have access to codes, you probably wouldn’t write them yourself.
These codes are also important for cooperation between developers. For example, one professional can focus on specific features, while the other one can use that API to build upon it and increase its functionality. As such, APIs aren’t important for external users but also for internal company collaboration.
5 Benefits of using APIs for your company
Based on everything said so far, it’s obvious that APIs can move the needle for just about any business. But let’s be a bit more specific. Here are the main benefits you will experience by relying on these codes:
1. Faster innovation
Whether we’re talking about specific businesses or the industry as a whole, APIs can help increase innovation. Companies are using existing codes to create new solutions, further building upon previous concepts. Furthermore, the tools are become increasingly comprehensive, allowing you to perform numerous tasks from a single dashboard.
2. Fantastic automation
Back in the day, you would need days and even months to execute certain processes. Nowadays, most of that is automated with APIs and online software. You can gather real-time data on demand and simplify tasks we previously had to do by hand.
3. Improved user experience
Not only are APIs crucial for building new programs and simplifying internal organizational processes, but they’re also crucial for users. Similar to your employees, people can benefit from the wealth of data. They can execute actions that were previously impossible such as communicating with family members vis-à-vis over enormous distances.
4. Enormous diversity
Nowadays, you have dozens and dozens of SaaS on the market. New products usually rely on APIs and existing solutions to build their own.
In an eternal pursuit of efficiency and profits, brands add small nuances to their platforms just to make them stand out. Even if you’re working in a highly saturated niche, you can differentiate yourself from the competitors by providing new features and functionalities.
5. Cost reduction
However you’re using APIs, you’ll be able to significantly reduce operational and marketing costs. As mentioned a few times before, they make everything run smoother and allow you to stay ahead of the competition.
5 API categories depending on access
We can classify APIs based on the protocols they use and their accessibility. In this particular section, we’d like to talk about accessibility:
1. Public API
This is the most flexible category of APIs. As you can tell by the name, anyone can use this code to build their own solutions. Some of the most common public APIs are maps, social media, and weather APIs.
2. Internal API
These codes are developed within business organizations. They are meant to improve communication between different apps, allowing for better team collaboration. The category includes things such as inventory, accounting, and HR APIs.
3. Partner API
Unlike internal APIs, which only serve one business, partner APIs allow communication between two or more systems and companies. Perhaps the best example of partner APIs is payment gateways, which allow transactions between buyers and sellers.
4. Composite APIs
By combining several APIs into one, you get a composite API. Mixing several codes together requires keen technical skill and, sometimes, whole developer teams. These solutions are ideal for companies that need software that performs multiple tasks.
5. B2B API
B2B API has some similarities to partner APIs as it allows communication between two separate entities. Unlike other API solutions, the B2B category usually requires much better data protection. Among others, there should be a certain level of trust between two businesses so they would even think of creating something like this.